The eagle feather can be seen floating weightlessly in space in a photo snapped on the International Space Station by Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques. (Jennifer Feinberg/ The Progress

The eagle feather can be seen floating weightlessly in space in a photo snapped on the International Space Station by Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques. (Jennifer Feinberg/ The Progress

VIDEO: Eagle feather from B.C. flew to space with Canadian astronaut

Inspirational feather will go on display with mission patch at Sto:lo offices in Chilliwack

An eagle feather from Chilliwack flew all the way to the International Space Station with Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques.

Believed to be the second eagle feather in space, it will be a source of inspiration for all soon from the Sto:lo Service Agency in Chilliwack, now that it has touched back down to Earth.

The story starts with the At Home in Space Program, where some UBC researchers were studying ways to reduce stress on astronauts, and help them adapt to the isolating effects of working on the space station. One of the psychology researchers, Peter Suedfeld, has close familial ties to Michael Suedfeld, who does research and communications for Sto:lo Service Agency (SSA).

“My father offered us the chance to send something of note into space with David Saint-Jacques,” Michael Suedfeld recounted, explaining how the item from Sto:lo territory ended up hurtling through in space.

Suedfeld sought out SSA colleague, Kelowa Edel, Sto:lo Health Director, to come up with a suitable suggestion.

Edel said she glanced over at a bookshelf where she kept an eagle feather.

It was perfect.

“It’s light. It’s significant. It’s our connection to creator,” Edel said, adding that the eagle is known across Turtle Island as the “messenger.”

Edel, who is not Sto:lo but of Ojibway ancestry, said the eagle feather was gifted to her at one point for her work with Sto:lo people.

“We want to really encourage our people,” Edel said. “You really have to reach for the stars. If you really want something, you can reach higher and higher.”

It’s just like the feather’s trajectory to the space station.

“The feather went up, and the feather came back down to earth,” Edel said.

As a keepsake, Saint-Jacques snapped a photo of the two-toned eagle feather floating weightlessly in space against the backdrop of Earth, through the cupola window portal on the space station.

“That was a really nice gesture on the part of Saint-Jacques,” Suedfeld said about the picture.

READ MORE: Saint-Jacques completes spacewalk

Suedfeld said he’d been told by Sto:lo elders, that “when the eagle reaches the moon, true reconciliation can begin,” and his understanding is that this is the first ever eagle feather on the ISS.

So for anyone reading this story, or seeing the small feather, his wish is that they take “hope and inspiration” from it.

And there’s an official certificate of authenticity that came with a note that reads: “It is with great pleasure that we are returning to you this item which flew aboard the International Space Station during David Saint-Jacques’ Mission.”

The feather is set to be mounted in a special frame, and will be eventually on display in Chilliwack, along with the space station mission patch, and space agency certificate, after a small ceremony is held in the new year.

“Space exploration enriches humanity with new perspectives on ourselves and the work,” Saint-Jacques wrote about his mission.

The astronaut was aboard the ISS from Dec. 3, 2018 to June 24, 2019.

“I thank the At Home in Space study team for symbolically taking part in the adventure through this feather that was on board with me.”

READ MORE: David Saint-Jacques announced science winners from space


@CHWKjourno
jfeinberg@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

The eagle feather that flew to space along with the mission patch from the At Home in Space program. (Jennifer Feinberg/ The Progress)

The eagle feather that flew to space along with the mission patch from the At Home in Space program. (Jennifer Feinberg/ The Progress)

Sto:lo Nation Health director Kelowa Edel and Michael Suedfeld of Sto:lo Service Agency gingerly holding the first eagle feather ever to make it aboard the International Space Station. (Jennifer Feinberg/ The Progress)

Sto:lo Nation Health director Kelowa Edel and Michael Suedfeld of Sto:lo Service Agency gingerly holding the first eagle feather ever to make it aboard the International Space Station. (Jennifer Feinberg/ The Progress)

Just Posted

International Women’s Day is March 8. (Internationalwomensday.com)
International Women’s Day 2021: #choosetochallenge

International Women’s Day is marked annually on March 8

Celebrate women in leadership, March 8, International Women’s Day 2021 (Unsplash)
EDITORIAL: International Women’s Day 2021 shines spotlight on achievements, ongoing inequities

COVID-19 increased gender-based violence, economic stress, the burden of care giving for women

Amarjit Khakh of Williams Lake. (Photo submitted)
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2021: Amarjit Khakh

Kindness and giving, key to full life

Sierra William (left) with her grandmother Eileen William. (Roger William photo)
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2021: Sierra William

Xeni Gwet’in woman finds strength in tradition

Cynthia English (Photo submitted)
INTERNATIONL WOMEN’S DAY 2021: Cynthia English

Cynthia English, 30, has been working in the logging industry for several years

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Const. Allan Young. Photo: Abbotsford Police Department
Manslaughter charge laid in Nelson death of Abbotsford police officer

Allan Young died after an incident in downtown Nelson last summer

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Most Read